Christmas is all about families, as well it should be. However, the holidays bring with it tension, drama and good old fashioned family secrets.

When Thea’s parents, Anna and Mike, decide that they want one more big family Christmas before they permanently separate they guilt trip the whole family into joining them for a festive holiday in Cornwall. Along with the recently dumped Thea comes her sister Emily along with husband and two children and brother Jimi and his wife and teenage son. Everyone seems to have someone, reminding Thea once and for all that she is thoroughly alone.

Furthermore, the cottage becomes overrun with unexpected guests adding to the pressure and the tension to make this a good Christmas.

Will the family survive?


It Must Have Been the Mistletoe is a heart-warming tale of a slightly broken family. Each character seems to have their own reasons for trying to hold things together. The overly emotional Emily just can’t seem to win, feels like she is failing as a mother and wife whilst constantly finding fault with her husband, his role as father and how her children behave. She snipes at every opportunity and can’t understand why people aren’t as worried about things as she is.

Anna just wants things to be peaceful and has a grace and elegance that tends to offer a happy balance. However, she is no Superwoman and even the most graceful of birds can be knocked off their perch by their soon to be ex-husband’s bit on the side. Then she cannot complain when her toy-boy has unexpectedly shown up for her family Christmas, can she?

Then there is Thea who is nursing something broken inside of her. Yet she seems to spend more time almost sabotaging her own happiness by not seeing the woods for the trees.

These three women make up the protagonist list in It Must Have Been the Mistletoe and each one has a strength that is enviable. They carry the story with their strong personalities and likeableness. Overall, It Must Have Been the Mistletoe is comedic, warm and entertaining. Who among us hasn’t felt the pressure to get Christmas right? What Judy Astley has done is make a Christmas to remember for this family but she has also made a Christmas story worth reading for us humble readers. This is definitely one you want wrapped up under your tree on Christmas day.

It Must Have Been the Mistletoe by Judy Astley is available now.

You can follow Judy Astley on Twitter @Judyastley

It Must Have Been te Mistletoe

Hello my lovely people,

I have had a boss week of reading but oh man it has felt like a long week. I was only in work for four days (and it was after a week off) but man it has been a difficult slog. I did, however, get plenty of books read. They are:

Moone Boy: The Blunder Years by Chris O’Dowd and Nick Vincent Murphy

It’s Not Me, It’s You by Mhairi McFarlane

A Place for Us Part One by Harriet Evans (Review posted but read last week)

A Beginner’s Guide to Christmas by Jennifer Joyce

The books that I have finished this week but are set for review this week are:

It Must Have Been the Mistletoe by Judy Astley

A Place for Us Part Two by Harriet Evans

Christmas with Billy and Me by Giovanna Fletcher

Actually, I’m rather pleased with that amount. I’ve not felt overwhelmed by them or like I needed to read more or stressed that I didn’t have enough time so yep, go me!

I’m currently reading

The Kiss Before Midnight by Sophie Pembroke (which I am loving)

Not that Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham

The First Year: Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis by Jill Sklar

Now this week there are plenty of books due to be read but I am definitely going to read the following few:

From Notting Hill with Four Weddings…Actually by Ali McNamara (449)

Say it With Sequins by Georgia Hill (256)

A Place for Us Part Three by Harriet Evans (107)

Cold Feet at Christmas by Debbie Johnson (222)

I am rather excited about this week’s books. I do love a good read-a-thon.

In other book news I have managed to get my NetGalley review percentage up to 27.4% – with this week’s four books and The Kiss Before Midnight let us see if we can get that number up to 30%…it could happen if NetGalley don’t put up any irresistible books for me to request. I am not holding my breath on that one.

Hope you all have an excellent week of reading my bookish buddies J

L x

A Beginners Guide to ChristmasTitle: A Beginner’s Guide to Christmas

Author: Jennifer Joyce

Pages: 61 pages

Publisher: Amazon Media

The Blurb

Due to unforeseen circumstances, Ruth has been roped in to a more active role in her family’s Christmas celebrations. Her mother – incapacitated after falling over a rogue toolbox – has been forced to buy presents, entertain guests, cook Christmas dinner and create the perfect festive event. But is the pressure just too much?

(Amazon Blurb)

The Review

This book, whilst being short – a half an hour read – is the perfect tonic for those dreading the festive season. There is something about Christmas that fills people with dread. They love the whole holiday spirit and the whole gift giving and receiving and the eating until you get the met sweats but the lead up to Christmas can be fraught with all kinds of unnecessary drama and expense.

What Jennifer Joyce does in her story A Beginner’s Guide to Christmas is remind us of all the fun times ahead whilst also offering rather precise interludes of advice.

This short story will get you in the mood for Christmas but will also remind you that preparation is the key!

A Beginner’s Guide to Christmas by Jennifer Joyce is available now.

For more information regarding Jennifer Joyce (@Writer_Jenn) please visit

4 Stars


Title: A Place for Us: Part One

Author: Harriet Evans

Pages: 137 pages


Being part of the Winter clan is something incredibly special. Equally, being part of the Winter clan can be an albatross. The Winter’s, like most families, harbour many dark secrets; stories that they have failed to share. For although they are a close family there are some things that you just keep to yourself.

When Martha Winter, mother and matriarch of the family, calls all her children and grandchildren back to Winterfold, the family home, everyone is beyond curious. Hidden as an excuse to celebrate Martha’s 80th birthday, the family know that there is more than meets the eye to this party.

The house of Winter is about to be rocked to its very foundations.


I love Harriet Evans. Never have I read a book by her and not been entranced and completely in love with the setting, the characters and the story. I was a little disappointed in myself that I found A Place for Us: Part One so difficult lose myself in. Don’t worry, it happened, just not as quickly as I had imagined it would.

Personally, I think I initially struggled with the multi-character perspective. This is not something I usually struggle with however, what I initially saw as a detriment actually turned out to be one of the great strengths of this book. Each character became distinctive. Their foibles and problems and desires and similarities became more and more evident as the tale went on. The everyday soap opera dramas juxtapose so easily with the long standing secrets making this book all the more intriguing.

The best way I can describe it is that A Place for Us is like going into the attic and finding a box of old photographs of people that look familiar that you don’t quite know. You try and piece together their story and it is only as more and more snapshots are revealed that you realise that you have an epic saga on your hands. That is what A Place for Us felt like for me.

I love stories that have the ability to make me want to be part of the featured family and help uncover the shocking familial revelations. I can honestly say that I have not read a saga like that in years – possibly since the Sweet Valley Sagas released in my teenage years.

Cleverly, Evans has serialised her novel which now has me chomping at the bit to read the next instalment. Well played, Harriet Evans. Well played, indeed.

All four instalments of A Place for Us by Harriet Evans are available now.

You can follow Harriet Evans on Twitter @HarrietEvans

A Place for Us Part One


Delia Moss has made a decision. It is the 21st century and she wants the world to know how much she is in love with her boyfriend of ten years, Paul. She plans to propose to him. However, as with all best laid plans things start to go a bit awry. Especially only moments after accepting her proposal, Paul incorrectly texts Delia a message intended for his mistress.

Heartbroken, Delia flees to London – away from the life that she knew, a life she was comfortable with and a life that she really wanted. However, London has a few tricks up its patriotic sleeves to help Delia realise that she is better, stronger and wiser than her northern upbringing initially reveal.


It is silly just how much I loved this book. Within the first few pages I was hooked. I was blindsided by just how much emotion I was feeling towards Delia’s situation. I mean, it could be argued that the protagonist wronged by her partner is a storyline done to death but Mhairi McFarlane had me wheezing with panic over the happenings of Delia’s love life. Suffice to say, the whole cheating scandal is probable every hopeless romantic’s worst nightmare and imagining myself in Delia’s situation was utterly heartbreaking even though it was through the vicarious activity of reading rather than facing it myself.

What McFarlane manages to do though is offer light at the end of this dark and melancholy tunnel. She shows us how strong a character can be, in fact how strong we can be in that self same situation. Furthermore, what is most noteworthy about this author is that she takes risks. She won’t go for the easy option or the one that her readers will agree with and plenty of times throughout this story I did yell at the book. However, it is an impressive thing when an author will monkey with your mind for the purpose of the better outcome. For this, I salute Mhairi McFarlane.

It’s Not Me, It’s You is a juggernaut of a chick-lit with so many emotions, so many adventures and so many possible outcomes it will keep you guessing until the very end. This should be on every readers Christmas Wish List…heck forget Christmas, buy it now and just hide for the weekend and read it all.

It’s Not Me, It’s You by Mhairi McFarlane is available now.

You can follow Mhairi McFarlane on Twitter @MhairiMcF

It's Not Me It's You